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The Art of Cheese — Tomato Soup with Grilled Havarti Cheese Croutons

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  • Author: Priscilla Willis
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


Comfort food served as an appetizer? Yes, please. Tomato soup with aged Havarti and sun-dried tomato grilled cheese for dipping is unforgettably delicious.


  • 3 tablespoons EV olive oil
  • 21/2 cups sweet onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 2 cloves fermented black garlic*
  • ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can No-Salt crushed or diced tomatoes
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream or Labne yogurt cheese*

Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white, sourdough or herb bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces Castello Aged Havarti cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and chile flakes, cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. I allowed the soup to cool and pureed it, but this step is optional.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a panini grill or grill pan. Before chopping, wrap the sundries tomatoes in a paper towel to remove excess oil. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes with the grated cheese. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter (including the sides). Turn the slices over and pile grated Havarti on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese, buttered sides up.
  4. Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute, and cut into 1-inch cubes or strips depending on presentation.


*Fermented black garlic from Frieda’s Specialty Produce is my secret ingredient for added umami. One tablespoon of fresh minced garlic can be substituted.
* I use Labne Greek Yogurt Cheese which is low in calories and sodium as a replacement for cream cheese, heavy cream, and sour cream.
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American
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